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this is chuck hagel, the former republican senator from nebraska. look at some of his answers. >> i should have used another term, and i'm sorry. i would like to go back and change the words and the meaning. the bigger point is, what i was saying, i think -- what i meant to say, should have said, is recognizable. it's been recognized, is recognized. well, i said it. and i don't remember the context or when i said it. well, i said what i said. i said many, many things over many years. that's what i should have said. and thank you. >> secretary panetta, many of those answers did not satisfy a lot of republicans. senator roy blunt is going to vote no. he said his answers were too inconsistent particularly related to iran and israel. marco rubio said i've been deeply concerned about his plef previous comments. john barrasso, he appeared weak and wobbly. are you concerned? >> well, everyone you quoted is a republican, and it's pretty obvious that the political knives were out for chuck hagel. >> and you think that was totally personal, partisan? >> well, what disappointed me is they talked a lot abo
we have 68,000 young men and women serving there. >> are you confident of chuck hagel? have you spent time with him? you guys have to have a partnership. secretary of defense, chairman of the joint chiefs of staffs, whether you like each other or are not, are you confident you can have a good relationship with him? >> i have spent time with senator hagel, including when he was teaching over at georgetown, on strategic issues. and in helping prepare him for this confirmation hearings, we had several opportunities to talk about strategy. and i found him well prepared and very thoughtful about it. >> were his answers to you better than the answers you saw there? >> i'm not going to grade his homework. but in my conversations, he was well prepared, articulate, concise. >> and you're confident he can do the job? >> i'm not going to speak about confidence. he could be my boss. when is the last time you saw a subordinate discuss the confidence in his boss? my personal contacts with him have been very positive. if he's confirmed, i look forward to working with him. >> senator lindsey graham s
of this. >> also, a bit of a tough week in washington if you're looking at chuck hagel this week with those hearings. will he end up in fact, being confirmed. >> i think he's going to end up getting confirmed. i spoke to roy blunt. who said he will vote no on hagel but not support a filibuster. we know a second senator from the state is going to join him. he has the votes to get confirmed. the bigger question now, erica, and it's a topic we're going to discuss today, is he politically strong enough to do the things that need to be done in the defense department? there's going to be some huge budget battles. considering how badly he was treated by republicans and this relationship being as bad as it is, can he be effective in the job? and i think that's now an open question. >> open one. we'll check back to see what's coming up with you on "meet the press". >>> now an update of the other top stories. tom, good morning. >> good morning, lester, erica, good morning, everyone. and a scary ride home. the over sized charter bus hit a low overpass sending 34 to the hospital. one in crit
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